Migration and media: open doors for the inaccessible
By AfriGO Team
The name dalmar means “passing through lands”. It comes from the Horn of Africa, and describes those who are great travelers. Indeed travelling is part of the cultural heritage of this area. From a background of nomadic livestock herding, many men from the Horn of Africa take jobs as sailors or long-distance truck drivers across East Africa. More recently, years of civil war have caused many to flee and move around in search of a better home.
God is behind this migration! We read in Acts that God chooses where people shall live. Those who were once inaccessible are now within easy reach of Christians. Hundreds of thousands of migrants have settled in cities across North America, Africa and Europe. They are strongly self-sufficient people, conditioned since childhood to adhere to a religion that they did not choose. They’ve been taught to resist change, bringing societal pressure to bear on those who dare. This is an obstacle that makes them hard to reach, no matter where they live.
A global network of African Christians, along with cross-cultural workers is reaching out to this diaspora in their adopted countries. Learning their languages and cultures, they have given years of their lives to serve peoples from the Horn of Africa. Building friendships and providing services, such as teaching English and other skills necessary to survive in a new country, can take a long time. The workers are few – pray for more!
Technology has opened pathways to reach these diaspora people in their own language, no matter where they are found. It provides opportunities for Christians to witness boldly about Christ without the risks of doing so publicly or in person. Radio, websites and social media give people around the world anonymous access to God’s truth in the privacy of their own homes.
The Voice of New Life
Founded by pioneer SIM workers, Warren and Dorothy Modricker, 40 years after their arrival in the Horn of Africa, the radio broadcast Voice of New Life (VNL) celebrated its 40th anniversary in February 2015. In terms of quantity and quality of contact with listeners, the last three years have been the best ever. VNL received more than 1,200 emails and phone calls or had personal meetings with more than 100 listeners, living in 20 different lands. Of these, 66 resumed contact after a gap of at least one year. Sixty-five of these people said they had trusted in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.
Technology has opened pathways to reach these diaspora people in their own language.
Many who tune in continue to express surprise that there is “nothing wrong” with the daily broadcasts. The Bible is so different from what they had imagined, with nothing “infidel” in it.
A long-time listener and house church leader from a closed land wrote, “Today it is a Sunday, and I can imagine that you are worshiping in your church. You are fortunate because you have full freedom, which enables you to worship God freely. Please do pray for us, so that we may also one day enjoy the same freedom that enables you to worship God without restriction.”
National believers also share God’s truth with their countrymen via The New Life website and its linked Facebook page in their own language. This provides answers, explanations and courses for those who request them. In 2015 a Qu’ranic teacher completed the first half of the online course “One God, One Way”. And that year Facebook posts during Holy Week reached more than 500,000! Following a condolences post commemorating the worst ever jihadist truck bomb in the capital city in mid-October 2017, more than 60 Facebook messages poured in within three weeks.
God is overcoming the obstacles – whether they be political, geographic, linguistic or cultural – that keep the least reached and hard to reach in ignorance of his good news. “The Emmaus road meeting with Christ for these people may seem to be in slow motion,” said the founder of the New Life website. “Please pray for the people on the road.”
The author’s name is withheld due to security concerns. Feedback should be addressed to: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more story of mission among Somali, read the biography of the Modrickers, “The Hardest Place”.